COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus State men's basketball team (10-4, 4-1 OCCAC) dropped two close games over the winter break.
Despite the losses, sophomore Mario Young had standout performances, tying for a high score of 32 points against Miami University-Hamilton and achieving a double-double with game-high totals of 31 points and 19 rebounds against Lakeland.
The Cougars went into 2018 with a home non-conference matchup with MU-Hamilton on Fri, Jan. 5. Along with Young, five Cougars scored double-digit points. Jeremiah Fair-Harris sunk in 13 points, Shamar Brown added 12 points while Matthew Gierhart and Malieck Evans each chipped in ten points for the Cougars. Gierhart and newcomer Ronald Fairrow tied for a team-high seven boards while Zion Parham dished out a team-high six assists. Fair-Harris led the team in steals with four while Fairrow had a game-high three blocks. Although the Cougars limited their turnovers to nine, they struggled to connect the ball to the basket, yielding a 46.2% field goal percentage compared to MU-Hamilton's 53.8%.
On Wed, Jan. 10, Columbus State took on Lakeland Community College in a conference game on the home court. What looked like what would be an easy win after a 51-36 halftime lead turned into a double-overtime battle for the Cougars. Columbus State struggled late with turnovers and Lakeland took advantage, scoring on each of Columbus State's five lost possessions in overtime.
Austin Bennett poured in 25 points, including the team's lone three-pointer. Ronald Fairrow added 14 points while Jeremiah Fair-Harris and Matthew Gierhart contributed ten points each. Along with points and rebounds, Young led the game in assists (8) and steals (4) while Fairrow led the game with five blocks.
The Cougars will face off against DIII conference rival Lorain County on Wed, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Elyria, Ohio.